TORAH PORTION: SHEMOT Sometimes we see things, whether at work or at school, and we know they are wrong. But the question for us is to decide when to intervene. We all make decisions regarding when it’s “just not our business” and when it would be wrong not to say something. But knowing which is which is difficult. If we see someone helpless being demeaned, it’s important to step in and help out. Whether acting discreetly or out in the open is a decision we will have to make in each situation. In our Torah parsha this week, Moses...Read More
VA-YIGASH — Young children are impulsive. They can’t really help it. They feel so intensely they blurt out whatever is on their minds, sometimes with love and sometimes in rage. It’s our job as parents to help them translate the intensity of their feelings into appropriate behavior. They might be angry, but they can’t mistreat their brother or sister, friend or parent. They need to find the right words to express what they are going through. They might want something belonging to a friend or sibling, but they can’t just grab it; they must ask for it respectfully. In...Read More
VA-YIGASH — Children often embarrass each other in front of friends, causing great pain and shame. We, as parents, want to make them aware of how hurtful such behavior is. In Jewish thought embarrassing someone in public is considered a serious crime, akin to killing someone. Judaism is sensitive to how painful an experience humiliation can be. In fact, Joseph provides a good model for us in our biblical portion. Having been estranged and separated from his brothers for years, he vindicates his own painful experience at their hands by becoming a powerful Egyptian ruler. It has been many...Read More
MI-KETZ — All families experience strife at one point or another. There might be a distancing of siblings, a child angry at a parent, or a parent angry at a child. It’s important that we move past this angry distancing toward reconciliation. In this Torah portion Joseph takes revenge on his brothers for throwing him into a pit and selling him into slavery. No wonder. His pain was sufficient to make anyone want to take revenge. When his brothers travel to Egypt to obtain grain for their family in the face of a famine, the brothers have no idea...Read More
VA-YESHEV — Sometimes brothers and sisters act in a caring manner and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they tell on one another, and sometimes they defend one another. In order for there to be peace in a household, parents must constantly foster a family culture where brothers and sisters care deeply about one another. In this week’s Torah parsha there is tremendous strife between Joseph and his brothers. Jacob, their father, clearly plays favorites and gives Joseph a multi-colored coat to signify his love for Joseph. Joseph fuels the tension created by this favoritism by telling on his brothers. Sometimes...Read More
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